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One of the multiple choice questions in a book I was reading was as follows:

  1. まどを_____.
  2. はい、おねがいします。

    a) 開けましょうか
    b) 開けてもいいですか
    c) 開けなさい
    d) 開けてくれませんか

I selected b) as the answer, but the given correct choice was a).

I can see why a) would be a more natural fit than b), but could they both be considered correct? My translation for the dialogue was essentially: 'Is it okay if I close the window?' 'Yes, thanks', but would this seem unnatural/wrong in the context?

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6

Firstly 開ける means 'open' not 'close'. I'm sure that was just a slip, but I wanted to make sure.

Option a) is 'Shall I open the window?'. You are offering a service to another person so 'yes please' would be a natural response.

Option b) is 'Is it okay if I open the window?'. In this case you are seeking permission to do something for your own benefit, so 'yes please' doesn't seem like a good match to this question.

In summary a) seems like the only natural answer.

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  • Ah, that was a silly slip, too much focus on getting the Japanese characters right. :) – Beast-a-tron Jan 22 at 18:29
2

While it probably wouldn’t be the right choice in a multiple choice exam, (b) is also fine — it just requires that the responder is trying to emphasize that they are not just giving permission, but if anything are being done a favor. This sort of reframing is quite common because it can be seen as humbling (in the sense of “who am I to give permission”), which is fairly core to Japanese conversation dynamics. Though もちろん(です)、お願いします might be a little better for this since it more fully reframes (although it depends on the relationship).

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